For most of us, having a dependable car is an essential. With the proliferation of suburban sprawl, we tend to spend an inordinate amount of time on the roads, driving to work, to shopping, to school, or college. Because we’re so dependent upon our automobiles, it’s imperative that we keep them running smoothly with proper maintenance. To help keep your automobile performing efficiently, you should adhere the following essentials of auto maintenance.

1. One of the most significant things to remember is to keep the oil at the proper level, and to change it periodically . Keep in mind that oil can start to break down over time, reducing its efficacy. If not attended to, carbon deposits from the oil will clog your engine, resulting in critical performance problems.

2. Keep an eye on the coolants in your car’s engine that keep it from overheating. Just as people become overheated on a hot summer’s day and need to re-hydrate, your car will suffer if the coolants are not maintained at the proper level.

3. Identify a qualified mechanic in your area, and get your vehicle on a schedule of regular tune-ups. Some components of your engine need to be checked periodically, as they are indispensable to the performance of your vehicle. Fuel and air filters, the timing belt and spark plugs are among those critical parts.

4. If you have taken a high school or college chemistry course, you may already know that the battery in your car may be extremely hazardous if handled improperly. Therefore, leave any work on this component to a trained professional. If he or she finds that the battery is corroded, or damaged, it may need to be replaced entirely. If there is a leak, any parts that are under or near it may be affected or even destroyed by battery acid, so it is absolutely necessary to check the condition of your battery frequently.

5. As a rule of thumb, if you address an issue in your engine while it is still a minor problem, it may be possible to prevent it from becoming a big one. As an example, if you hear a tapping noise, or your vehicle is pulling to one side, you should have these issues remediated without delay. The lights in your dashboard that indicate you should check your engine are warning you that something may be amiss, so be careful not to ignore them. Dealing with these issues early can prevent serious and potentially costly repairs later.

All it takes to keep your car running smoothly well into the future is a little bit of education and periodic routine, preventive maintenance. Familiarizing yourself with how your car operates and the normal noises it makes can help you to realize when something isn’t working properly in the engine. Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so take care of small problems before they become more serious.

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